California State University, Long Beach
The Manifest


Container CastContainerCast, hosted by Mat Kaplan, is a podcast exploring important issues in goods movement and international trade. It features CITT activities, including research findings, and interviews with key decision makers from the trade and transportation arena. ContainerCast is also a companion to Trade and Transportation, a monthly column of the Long Beach Business Journal.

Please listen also to our TransCasts that feature interviews with METRANS researchers and other distinguished transportation experts.

ContainerCast Explores CITT - Part One

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT), a division of the College of Continuing and Professional Education at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), began just over 20 years ago. In all that time Container Cast, produced at CSULB, has never taken you inside this accomplished Center—not till now. In four wide-ranging conversations we’ll introduce you to four leaders of the CITT, beginning with its executive director, Dr. Thomas O'Brien.
O’Brien will begin our exploration of how CITT fulfills its mission, which is to serve as a collaborative forum dedicated to the development, distillation, and broad dissemination of objective information about the goods movement industry.

ContainerCast Explores CITT - Part Two

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The second of four conversations that explore the CITT features Angeli Logan, its longtime Director of Trade and Transportation Programs. In this episode, Logan discusses CITT’s educational endeavors, from the Global Logistics Specialist program, an adult certification, to the Academy of Global Logistics at Cabrillo High School. We learn how many of these effective work-based learning efforts are the result of innovative partnerships between industry, education, and government, with CITT creating curriculum and coordinating engagement along the way.

ContainerCast Explores CITT - Part Three

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Part three of Container Cast’s look into the multifaceted Center for International Trade and Transportation focuses on Career and Technical Education Specialist Deanna Matsumoto, a recent hire to the Center. She discusses the evolution of “vocational education” to “career technical education,” addressing employment skill levels, technology’s role, educational equity, and the apprenticeship model, as well as her personal motivation regarding this work.

ContainerCast Explores CITT - Part Four

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The last of four conversations with leaders of the CITT is an interview with the Center's Director of Research and Workforce Development, Dr. Tyler Reeb. Reeb explains the role of research in CITT’s activities, particularly workforce development, with an eye toward scaling results to a national level. His work exemplifies the importance of creativity in instituting “communities of practice” and “career pathways” to more accurately and more equitably forecast the needs of the transportation industry and its workforce.

I Want It Now!-eCommerce According to Ben Conwell

Thursday, April 6, 2017
​Guests: Thomas O’Brien & Ben Conwell
Our perception of goods movement over the last mile has radically changed, perhaps forever. CITT Executive Director Tom O’Brien reviews the challenging message delivered in a recent presentation by Ben Conwell, Senior Managing Director and Americas Practice Leader in eCommerce and Electronic Fulfillment for Cushman and Wakefield, the commercial real estate company. Prior to his current position, Conwell helped create the standard-setting delivery network enjoyed by Amazon.

METRANS: A Family of Centers

Sunday, April 2, 2017
​METRANS is the nearly twenty-year-old partnership between California State University, Long Beach and the University of Southern California.  This unique collaboration began as the first, federally-funded, University Transportation Center in Southern California.  Relying on the individual strengths of each campus, and working in conjunction with other institutions, METRANS has steadily grown into the hub for a remarkable collection of publically and privately-supported transportation research efforts.  CITT Executive Director Tom O’Brien describes the fascinating range of work underway, and how it benefits industry, society and students.

Freight Planning Takes Center Stage

Monday, May 9, 2016
​CITT Executive Director Thomas O'Brien provides a hopeful update on the development of national and California freight policy and talks about the importance of balancing three critical factors.

Workplace Training

Friday, April 15, 2016
Discussing the Transportation Research Board's focus on the future, Millennials looking to move into the realm of trade and transportation, Workforce Development Boards, apprentice programs, and more.

The Value of Research

Monday, February 1, 2016
The work of a modern university no longer pauses for summer or winter break. This is particularly true for research activities, including the many projects undertaken by the Center For International Trade and Transportation and the METRANS Transportation Center. CITT Executive Director Tom O'Brien talks to Mat Kaplan about the value of freight transportation research for industry and government. Tom also describes some of the major international efforts underway.

A National Strategy for Freight

Friday, January 1, 2016
It was a long time coming, but the United States finally has the draft of a plan for the support and growth of the nation's freight movement infrastructure. The National Freight Strategic Plan isn't perfect, but Tom O'Brien reports that it is an extremely important step toward a coordinated approach that includes and addresses all the involved constituencies.

I-NUF Wrap-Up

Tuesday, December 1, 2015
The 2015 International Urban Freight Conference in Long Beach, California was the most successful yet. CITT Executive Director Tom O'Brien describes a few highlights and explores the value of this biannual gathering of transportation experts, practitioners, and regulators from around the globe.

CSULB's New Master of Science in Supply Chain Management is Open for Business

Friday, April 10, 2015
CSULB’s new Master of Science in Supply Chain Management is open for business.  On a special edition of ContainerCast, two of the principal planners of this exciting new program tell us how it will prepare highly-motivated individuals for leadership positions in the fast-growing field of supply chain management.  Dr. Sabine Reddy directs the MSSCM program.  She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management/Human Resources Management at the CSULB College of Business Administration.  Her colleague, Seiji Steimetz is an Associate Professor in the CSULB College of Liberal Arts, where he is Associate Chair of the Department of Economics.  Seiji is a member of the METRANS Transportation Center Executive Committee.

E-Commerce and Omni Channel

Monday, December 8, 2014
In this ContainerCast, host Mat Kaplan and CITT Executive Director Thomas O’Brien discuss the development of E-commerce and how an OMNI Channel model accommodates different types of demand.

Creating Border Environment

Friday, August 22, 2014
Canada is the biggest US trade partner, with Mexico running second or third. With so many goods flowing across long borders, all three nations have a strong incentive to ease trade, while striking a balance with prudent security measures. Dr. O’Brien describes the challenges and a few notable successes in this episode of our series.

Inland Connections

Friday, July 25, 2014
There has been renewed interest over the last decade or more in the development of "inland ports." It may sound like a contradiction in terms till you hear Dr. O'Brien explain how they can help solve land use and economic problems many ports face. Poor needs assessment and planning for inland ports can also take stakeholders down the wrong path.

Big Ship Ready

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
They're coming. A new generation of behemoths on the sea are longer than four football fields, and carry up to 18,000 containers. The Triple E class ships and their slightly smaller siblings will present new challenges for ports, even as they achieve greater economies of scale for shipping lines. They may also open up a new world of shipping alliances that will encourage more sharing of capacity.

Local Mobility and Global Trade

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Freight is taking on an increasing importance in the discussion of mobility within the city of Long Beach.
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End of Semester Grades

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Mat Kaplan and Thomas O'Brien discuss Thomas' Long Beach Business Journal article from April 23, 2013, where he gives a "mini state of the state" of where we are with trade in the region.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013
In this episode of ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan and Thomas O'Brien discuss rightshoring, or trying to find a balance between offshoring, nearshoring, and reshoring.

Serving the Last Mile

Thursday, May 23, 2013
​In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan speaks with Tom O'Brien about an important part of international trade that is often overlooked--the last mile, or the deliveries to stores and homes. We think a lot about the impacts of ocean vessels and diesel emissions but there are impacts on the urban environment as well, through delivery trucks and vans. This area of concern is called urban freight, and it's starting to mean something to people across the board.

Beyond the Border

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
​In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan talks to Tom O'Brien about the impact of goods that come to the U.S. from Canada and Mexico on the U.S. economy.

Mapping the Future of Goods Movement

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
​In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan speaks to Tom O'Brien about the elimination of the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transporatation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users and its replacement with MAP 21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, and what this means for the future of goods movement.

No Matter Location

Monday, October 22, 2012
​In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan talks to Tom O'Brien about his trip to the port of Antwerp, which is a critical part of the supply chain that can teach us more about our own ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles. Antwerp is also the second largest petroleum refining port complex in the world after Houston.

Smart Use of Equipment

Friday, January 20, 2012
An economic downturn doesn't diminish the value of increased efficiency at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Both need additional container storage space, but land is in short supply. So the Ports and several major carriers are experimenting with new ways to manage the tens of thousands of chassis that move those containers across the nation. For example, industry leader Maersk is leasing chassis to truckers, giving them much greater flexibility. Dr. O'Brien tells us the plan seems to be working.

Industry Government and Academic Leaders

Friday, January 20, 2012
These sometimes strange bedfellows once again found mutually-beneficial common ground at October's National Urban Freight Conference in Long Beach. Dr. O'Brien recaps highlights of the METRANS sponsored event, and tells us why it might have been better called an INTERNATIONAL conference. A conference report and presentations are available at

Cap and Global Trade

Friday, January 20, 2012
It's official. California has the first statewide cap-and-trade program in the US. Can market-driven policies like this substantially reduce carbon emissions? Both business interests and environmentalists have reservations. Dr. O'Brien takes us through the complex web of legislation and regulation, and warns that there is more to come, including the Sustainable Communities Strategy.

Keeping Us Honest

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The National Urban Freight Conference has returned to Southern California. Our regular guest, Dr. Thomas O’Brien, is a major force behind this gathering of goods movement industry professionals and the researchers who study their industry. Tom explains the value of this meeting of the minds to host Mat Kaplan.

A Conversation with Geraldine Knatz, Director of the Port of Los Angeles

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Geraldine Knatz, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, talks with Mat Kaplan about the challenges and joys of running the busiest container port in the United States. Topics include the vital role of constant infrastructure improvements, environmental advances, and the outlook for international trade. We also hear how Dr. Knatz rose from environmental scientist at POLA to becoming its first ever female Executive Director.

Taking Stock of Past

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tom O'Brien and Mat Kaplan review the three-part webinar series “Cargo and Jobs: Still Ours to Lose?” They break down some of the bigger issues that were raised by the participants, including just how competitive a trade gateway Southern California is.

Keeping Up With The Neighbors

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Mat Kaplan and Tom O'Brien discuss a conference that brought together people with a unique interest in gateway issues and port issues along the west coast of North America. The purpose of the conference was to figure out what was similar about west coast gateway regions. But a lot of the discussion focused on how we compete for the same business and how some of us are in a better position to get that business than others.

Social Sustainability and Supply Chain

Monday, January 31, 2011
Dr. Thomas O'Brien joins host Mat Kaplan for a fascinating conversation about efforts to reduce slavery and human trafficking, including the recent passage of California's Supply Chain Transparency Act.

Now What- Post Election

Friday, January 7, 2011
In this episode of ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan and Tom O’Brien review the 2010 elections and consider what they mean for the trade and transportation community.

Freight Transportation Policy

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
When Senator Lowenthal recently introduced legislation calling for a national freight policy, he joined a line of distinguished politicians who had done the same thing. Mat Kaplan and Tom O’Brien discuss whether or not he is likely to have any more success than they did.

Different Technologies, Same Issues

Monday, November 29, 2010
In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan talks to Tom O’Brien about the constant tension on the docks over the use of technology and what it means for labor negotiations.

Interview with LATC's Robert Thornburgh

Monday, July 26, 2010
Host Mat Kaplan welcomes Robert Thornburgh, chairman and past president of the Los Angeles Transportation Club. The LATC has served its members, the goods movement industry and the community for more than 85 years. It also provides generous support for CSULB and CITT programs.

Thinking Outside the Box

Friday, July 9, 2010
In this Container Cast, Mat Kaplan talks with Tom O'Brien about some of the other kinds of cargo, apart from containerized trade, moving through the Ports of LA and Long Beach.

Taking The Long View

Thursday, July 8, 2010
Mat Kaplan and Tom O'Brien consider some of the longer term trends - like those that started in 800 A.D. - affecting globalized trade.

Different Shades of Green

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Mat Kaplan and Tom O’Brien look at the ways in which private industry has adopted environmental measures. From manufacturing to transport, companies have decided that a green supply chain means more green for the bottom line.

Northern Perspectives

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan talks to CITT’s Tom O’Brien about what drives innovation at west coast ports and how competitors sometimes work together to develop and test new technologies as well as new policy measures.

Competitive Visioning

Thursday, December 17, 2009
In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan and CITT’s Director of Research Thomas O’Brien discuss how difficult it is to reach consensus on the future of goods movement and the ways to solve the trade-related challenges. Some recent Long Beach conferences attempt to bridge the divide.

Legacy of Containerization

Thursday, December 3, 2009
In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan and Tom O’Brien discuss the legacy of containerization and the potential for a new revolution in U.S. trade as a result of changes in the way the industry handles chassis.

Getting Ready For the Recovery

Friday, October 16, 2009
In this Container Cast, CITT’s Director of Research, Tom O’Brien, and Mat Kaplan talk about what happens to international trade after an economic recovery. Will more consumer confidence mean the return of 2006-level trade volumes to our local ports? Much of that depends on what happens in Asia and China, as Tom and Mat discuss.

Cameron Roberts on Clean Trucks in the Ports

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
How do we clean up the trucks serving the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles with the minimum in policy changes and damage to trade? That topic will be discussed in this episode of ContainerCast with Cameron Roberts.

"I'm Just A Bill..."

Thursday, July 30, 2009
In this ContainerCast, CITT's Director of Research Tom O'Brien and Mat Kaplan discuss the impact of the California budget crisis and the reauthorization of the federal surface transportation bill on trade-related infrastructure projects. This includes the complex nature of transportation policy amking and financing in the U.S. and the number of different agencies involved.

Innovation in Goods Movement 6/3/09

Thursday, June 11, 2009
In this ContainerCast, Mat Kaplan and Thomas O’Brien, CITT’s Director of Research, discuss what drives the development and adoption of innovation in trade gateways. For the Southern California trade gateway, competition between the ports of LA and Long Beach has helped; and so has the large number of researchers at local universities.

Ten Years Partnership

Monday, June 8, 2009
This year marks the 10th anniversary of CITT's State of the Trade and Transportation Industry Town Hall meeting. This ContainerCast considers the role that the Town Hall has played in bringing the university and industry together and providing a forum for problem solving.

Goods Movement and Good Neighbors

Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The industry is once again in crisis mode. A weak economy and a decline in cargo volumes have affected major trade gateways. In this Container Cast, we discuss what this means for a local economy dependent on trade and transportation activity.

Front Lines and Fault Lines in Global Trade

Tuesday, June 2, 2009
In this ContainerCast, we discuss the many front lines where the battles over trade are fought, and fault lines all over the world that can trigger economic disruptions. This is a sobering reminder that as a community dependent on trade for our livelihood, we are inextricably linked to the rest of the world.

West Coast Container Volumes

Monday, February 23, 2009
This ContainerCast discusses west coast container volumes in light of current economic conditions and considers what happens after the recovery.

A Goods Movement Report Card

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A year ago at this time, I attempted to make my best predictions about the key issues which would be confronting the goods movement industry in 2008. This is my own year-end report card. In general, I got the issues right but the emphasis wrong. At the end of 2007, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were looking at a down year in terms of imports. Exports, however, were a bright spot; and there was some hope that a good Christmas season would help the industry end the year on a positive note.

Beyond The Port

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
In this ContainerCast, the focus is on the city of Carson and similar cities near major port complexes and the role they play when it comes to global trade and transportation issues.

Meeting Public Policy Challenges

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
This ContainerCast talks about the launching of the Clean Truck Program and the phase-in of a series of related measures designed to support the Program, including the use of RFID. It also talks about the evolution of regulatory measures surrounding port operations.

Laying the Groundwork for Effective Trade- Related Partnerships

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
In this ContainerCast, there's general agreement on what needs to be done to get freight related projects moving. The state has been involved in laying those out along with the independent parties like the ports. We generally know what these projects cost, but it's what needs to be done to get the project actually implemented that's proving difficult.

Trade and Transportation- Turbulence for the Air Freight Industry

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
In this ContainerCast, air cargo is subsidizing your flight. The ability to use space in passenger planes to transport air cargo benefits the air cargo industry as well.

In For The Long Haul

Thursday, March 6, 2008
In this ContainerCast, host Mat Kaplan and CITT Director of Research Thomas O’Brien discuss the long term outlook for international trade through Southern California. What do flatter than normal import volumes mean for the region?

Trade and Transportation on the Campaign Trail

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In this ContainerCast, the focus is on the attention (or lack of it) that trade and transportation issues are receiving in the presidential race.

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